Skip to main content
3:00 pm
narrator: over the last 100 years, since the dawn of industrialization, humans began to have a major impact on the environment. pollution of all sorts began to show up in the air, water, and on land. in turn, the environment began to have an impact on us. nightly newscasts and morning papers are filled with stories about ozone depletion, water and air pollution, and toxic waste in our neighborhoods. while these problems may seem not to affect us personally, we cannot ignore the health hazards that come with living on an interconnected planet.
3:01 pm
the environment is a crucial factor in the health of each of us. if the environment is not healthy, there is no way we can truly call ourselves healthy. persistent efforts and regulation over the last few decades have greatly reduced environmental pollution. ib: our rivers don't catch on fire anymore. persistent efforts and regulation over the last few decades we don't have big, black plumes in most communities in america. we don't see slicks going down the great lakes. so people believe, because they don't see it,
3:02 pm
that, somehow, we're in a better state now than we ever were before, and the truth is, that all we've done is cosmetic surgery. we have scraped off the surface and made that look pretty, but beneath it are the invisible chemicals that are getting into our food supply, our water supply and our air each and every day, and poisoning us. not gross poisoning, but subtle poisoning, day after day after day. we are not exposed to individual toxicants in the environment. we're exposed to hundreds and thousands of chemicals in our food, air and water, many of these natural, many of them human-made. so the question is, what happens when we have all of these added together, in varying amounts? many of these chemicals are difficult to escape. they reside in the atmosphere that surrounds us. john peters: for years, there's been a well known set
3:03 pm
of responses that people get when they breathe southern california-type air pollution. eye irritation, you know, irritation in the chest, cough, things of this sort-- but the real question that i think some of us have been interested in is what does this repeated kind of experience result in, as far as permanent, chronic damage to the lung, or anything else? health officials suspect that air pollution may be a factor in diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and lung cancer. it can also intensify the breathing difficulties people with asthma experience. john peters: if you divide the population into asthmatics and non-asthmatics, there's a striking relationship within the asthmatics as to air pollution level, and frequency of cough and phlegm-- it's twice as much in the more polluted communities
3:04 pm
than the less polluted communities. nine years ago, the california air resources board initiated a study to determine the long-term effects of air pollution on health. their subjects? 5,000 school-aged children living in 12 southern california communities, from atascadero to alpine. john peters: we decided to look at children primarily because we can find them more easily. we can go to schools, and if they're young enough, they don't smoke yet. they don't have hazardous occupations, so that there are some things about them that are amenable to study, maybe not the least of which is-- at least thought by some-- that the growing lung in a young person is more susceptible to the effects of air pollution as well. plus the fact that children spend more time outdoors and they exercise more so that they would be breathing more of the ambient air
3:05 pm
and when they're exercising, even more. children in the study are periodically tested to determine if there are any long-term effects from air pollution. researchers measure each child's lung development and function in relation to the air quality at home and in school, as well as the outside environment. so if we see an effect, we'll be trying to isolate whether it's caused by particles in the air, or ozone in the air, or a combination of the two, or nitrogen dioxide, or some other pollutant. thus far, three results seem clear. first, children who live in areas with high amounts of air pollution exhibit slower rates of lung growth. second, children with asthma and other respiratory illnesses are affected more by the pollution than other children. and third, school absences related to respiratory illnesses
3:06 pm
in the communities studied, are not linked to ozone pollution, as first thought. what we've seen so far makes it look like particles and no2 or nox are more important than ozone as far as the chronic effects. health problems related to air quality tend to emerge over time. illness related to contaminated water is much more direct. david bennett: the diarrheal diseas are usually trsmitted through contaminated food and water. so with poor sanation systems the comnities, poor hygiene in the household, lack of running water, water that has to be stored and can be easily contaminated, lack of refrigeration for keeping foods-- these are all factors that contribute very heavily to the occurrence of diarrheal disease. for the past decade and a half, the carter center has led a worldwide campaign to eradicate two water related diseases:
3:07 pm
river blindness-- caused by the bite of a blackfly which breeds in rivers and streams, and guinea worm disease. donald hopkins: this is a parasitic infection that people get when they drink contaminated water from open ponds. a year later, worms that are two or three feet long come out of their body. the threadlike worm emerges slowly through a painful blister in the skin. if the worm breaks during its exit from the body, it causes a severe infection. donald hopkins: people are incapacitated, usually temporarily, for periods averaging six to eight weeks. during that time, children can't go to school, farmers can't farm, parents can't take care of their young toddlers. many victims immerse the affected area in water to soothe the burning pain. when the female worm touches the water, she releases tens of thousands of larvae that begin the cycle again. although guinea worm disease cannot be cured once the larvae is ingested,
3:08 pm
the disease can be stopped if the one-year life cycle is broken. donald hopkins: it can be prevented completely by teaching people not to go into water when they have worms coming out of their body, because that's how the infant worms get back into the water. teach people to boil their water, if they can afford to do that. teach them to filter their water through a finely woven cloth. there's a chemical abate which you can put in the water that kills these parasites, but leaves the water safe for people to drink. it also doesn't kill fish or plants in the water. but the best way of preventing this infection is by helping people to get safe underground sources of water, such as from a bore-hole well. that improves-- it gets rid of guinea worm, but it also reduces the amount of diarrhea and other kinds of water-borne problems that people suffer. water quality is often perceived as a local or regional issue, as is the case of the guinea worm. but the very fact that water circulates
3:09 pm
around the globe and through the soil, means that contamination in one area eventually spreads. rebecca goldberg: the ocean has historically been treated as so vast that we can do anything to it and it doesn't matter. cities have pumped vast quantities of untreated sewage into the ocean. new york city has dumped garbage in the ocean. ships have thrown their wastes overboard or discharged their sewage directly overboard without treatment. the beaches of imperial beach, california, a seaside community south of san diego, are closed during much of the year because high levels of pollution pose a danger to swimmers and surfers. two miles to the south is the city of tijuana, mexico. almost half of the homes and businesses in this rapidly growing urban area are not connected to a sewer system. ababout half a mile short of that two miles is the mouth of the tijuana river,
3:10 pm
where a million acre watershed pours water and unconnected sewage from homes that are unsewered in mexico down into the watershed, and that's out the mouth of the river where the sewage flows north or south, depending on ocean currents. the rapid growth of industry along the border has also created severe pollution problems. most mexican factories do not treat their wastes before dumping them in the ocean. carolyn powers: you don't see toxics in the waters so the beauty that you see behind me is very deceptive in that you don't see the chloroforms, you don't see the lead, you don't see the arsenic, you don't see the toxins discharged from the maquiladoras in mexico that come down the tijuana river untreated and actually pollute the marine mammal fisheries, and as well as the recreational users here in imperial beach. the unseen risks have resulted in very real health problems for anyone venturing into these waters.
3:11 pm
gary sirota: i remember, i used to go into the ocean when i had a cut and i'd heal myself. and now when i go into the ocean i almost always have to come out-- peroxide my cuts to make sure that i don't get an infection. i can't even point to how many times that i've gotten gastroenteritis, diarrhea, nasal infections, ear infections in the last ten years from surfing the local coastal waters. the heavily populated city of san diego, a few miles north of imperial beach adds to the pollution problems. kathy stone: when it rains in urbanized areas such as san diego, we're going to get a lot of run-off coming in from all the asphalt-- it comes into the ocean and that's going to be highly polluted with chemicals, fertilizers, high bacteria levels that can potentially make people sick. so what the county does is we advise the swimmers and surfers that please don't go in the water near lagoons, rivers, creeks and storm drain outlets.
3:12 pm
marco gonzales: i can go out three, four days after a storm, after they've pulled down all the signs and coming in, get a gulp of water or something, and my throat starts burning almost immediately. you know, 24 hours later, i'm completely sick, laid up with the flu. it doesn't take a large stretch of the imagination to attribute that to the polluted water. air pollution and contamination of the water supply, are not the only purveyors of toxic risk. for many people, especially in decades past, the most dangerous environment may be associated with a paycheck... the workplace. the women who were using their tongues to make the point on the brush to make the fine letters on the dials luminous and were, you know, getting a lot of radium into their body and winding up with cancer of the jawbones. and then, there are lots of stories of, you know, coke oven workers developing cancer,
3:13 pm
coalminers developing lung disease from inhaling coal dust and silica miners being exposed to silica and developing serious respiratory illnesses. at the hawk's nest tunnel, built in the 1930s, mostly black miners who were driving the tunnels through in west virginia, they ran into a mountain of virtually pure silica and they contracted these diseases in days and weeks, because of the high intensity of their exposure to it. fortunately, we don't have that kind of exposure now but we do have and continue to have silicosis as a problem among miners and among workers generally. workers who are sandblasting tunnels or bridges, workers in factory settings that use abrasives to clean, elements to clean machinery,
3:14 pm
those frequently contain sand and silica and those workers then have exposure. hello. my name's richard, and i'm with the state osha program. and i'd like to see the person here with the highest authority, please. today, it is the job of osha-- the occupational safety and health administration, to keep workers free from health hazards by regulating their exposure to different hazards. jim, you have richard from osha in the front office. please come to the front office. all of our inspections are really a surprise to the employer. we cannot give advance notice to any of the employers. my name is richard, i'm with the state osha program. - and i'm here to do an inspection. - okay. some inspections are prompted by a violation or complaint reported by an employee; others are routine. ray barkley: they'll explain why we're out there, and then they'll ask to look at specific programs. well, let's just start and walk around the shop. and then they'll start their walk around, which is the inspection.
3:15 pm
this is interesting. tim, could y come here and-- ? yeah? this device shows whether an electrical circuit is grounded or not. and i'm showing no ground here, but i am showing that it's grounded here. i don't understand what the problem is. so could you kind of peek in there and tell me, without sticking your fingers in it? looks like the grounding wire is not hooked up to the face plate. so, there's no grounding wire on this particular plug, and that's a very dangerous situation. again, that will result in a citation... ray barkley: our whole job here is to try and make the job safe or the place of employment safe. to avoid liabilities, industries with potential workplace hazards will often hire medical personnel and industrial hygienists to monitor employee health and safety. teresa howe: we fabricate a number of parts for the various launch vehicles here, so, employees could be exposed to a number
3:16 pm
of different chemical substances, fibers, vapors, gases, various liquids, corrosive-type materials. tracy schile: the goal of the industrial hygienist is to undertake preventive measures that keep our workers from being exposed to chemical, physical, and biological hazards. okay, so the time i started you is 10:05. and then this is to get the short-term exposure limit, so i'm gonna wave at you to get you to stop what you're doing. at 15 minutes, i'm gonna change out that cassette. okay. tracy schilf: we're looking for the results of what the fume exposure is gonna be for his welding process. he's using a... what's called the "rod 4-10," a stainless steel rod, it has some chromium in it, so that's what's gonna be our biggest concern. teresa howe: engineering controls are the primary tactic that we would like to use in occupational health and safety to keep exposures away from the employees.
3:17 pm
those are methods that we use, or perhaps devices that we use, to actually control the exposure at the point of generation, perhaps; isolate or separate the employee from the exposure; engineer the release of the hazardous material. for example, engineer that out of the process, so that we just don't have the exposures. for many reasons, howe considers personal protective equipment the least desirable line of defense. howe: we really hate to have toely on these devices. they can be, you know, they can fail. they can come from the manufacturer with holes in them. a glove with a... maybe a small pinhole leak that the employee might not notice, and they're relying on this for chemical protection to keep that material off of their skin. with respirators, for example, there can be breakthrough in the cartridges where the filter material becomes unable to filter out anymore of the solvent or dust or something like that,
3:18 pm
and the employee then can be exposed. or the respirator might not fit properly on the person's face, again resulting in possible leakage and the contaminants getting in there. so other hazards that we typicay have in... well, in a number of our production areas, is noise. we've got machine shops, for example. we need to get these people in the hearing conservation program, make sure they have earplugs; make sure we check their hearing every year to ensure that there's no degradation of their hearing. the one place most people feel free of environmental hazards is their home, and yet it's estimated that there are anywhere from 50 to 75,000 chemicals concealed in the products we commonly use and wear. the body interacts with these according to the way our biochemistry is programmed, according to nature. in general, i like to think about all of these other chemicals in three ways. they are either nutrients which our body can use
3:19 pm
for energy or for building tissue; they are inert, which means we don't use them at all and they just pass through; or they're toxicants-- they have the ability to alter the biochemistry within our body. good shot! parents of toddlers and small children must be particularly careful about protecting young ones from toxic substances-- the cleaning compounds and plants, cosmetics and drug products familiar to most households. michael bryant: and so prevention begins to be the key, and looking for those, what i like to call, "hidden dangers" in your home that kids can get into, and trying to be proactive in terms of educating yourself and them about those dangers. and they exist in some of the most unlikely places. i mean, kids do things that we would never imagine that they would venture into, simply because of their curiosity. other health hazards may be less obvious,
3:20 pm
as a number of famils in this chicago nehborod ned, when an enterprising pest control service started using a chemical designed for agricultural use to destroy their household pests. lton clark methylonsrgano-phatpestide. it has been in use as an agricultural product for probably four decades, and it's a chemical that has significant toxicity and also short life in the environment, which has made it a chemical of choice in agricultural use. the trouble was, mr. brown, the unlicensed pest exterminator, did not use methyl parathion for agricultural purposes, as instructed. he used it inside people's homes. the roaches was real, real bad in my house. real bad. so he came and sprayed. when he sprayed, they stayed gone about a year.
3:21 pm
there's no worry about it. you just have to air it out, and it'll dissipate." brad menning: when it's used indoors, you don't have the wat or the bacteria or the sunlight to break it down. it can stay inside a house for two to three years beforet breaks down, and that was the big problem here-- is this was all sprayed indoors. it was not breaking down, and it was still a threat to everybody that was living in these homes. an exposure to a chemical occurs when... through one of the routes: oral, respiratory, or dermal, we come in contact with a chemical in an environmental medium, such as air, water, soil... whatever. the effects may be either local or systemic. local efcts occur near the se ofose. craigmill: a systemic toxic effect can only occur if the chemical penetrates our skin. when parathion gets onto the skin, it is absorbed slowly into the bloodstream
3:22 pm
and causes an inhibition of an enzyme in our body. this inhibition causes widespread generalized toxicity, which results in headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing. when we went into people's homes, we found that there were often the pesticide product in fruit jars, in milk jars, in honey containers... and the products looks like milk, actually, when it's diluted with water. obviously, we had great concern about children or others picking up these bottles, which were drink bottles, and consuming the methyl parathion in high concentrations. that would have been a very big problem. it turns out that these containers had a high enough percentage that the ingestion of between one and two teaspoons of the product by an infant, and let's say this would be 20 pounds and under, would be capable of killing the child.
3:23 pm
and a dose slightly greater than that, spilled on the skin without washing it off, would also kill a child. letters were sent to residents whose homes had been sprayed informing them of the potential danger of the pesticide. letter- monica fan?o residents whose homes hahibeen sprayed hi, nica. my name is rosa. i'm with the department of pubth. spokwith you eli this morning, regardinthmeth pa. evans: we relied heavily on the public health nurses who provided information he residents initially, who collected the urine samples, and who followed up with the residents about the outcome of the urine testing. how soon will you pick up these results? tomorrow morning. if you like, i can be here... somewhere between 10:00 and 11:00. okay, that's fine. we took a lot of time to ask questions about what kinds of habits and behaviors that people in the homes practiced, so that we would learn more about which kinds of behaviors resulted in high levels of exposure. now i need to know... during the spraying,
3:24 pm
right after the spraying, maybe a couple of hours after when you came back into the house, or when you were in the house, was anybody, you know, complaining of any sickness, headaches, anything? yes, my husband was. he was nauseous. he had headaches. he just didn't feel right. and that was how soon after the spraying? well, he had stayed here while the gentleman was spraying, and so afterwards, within an hour, he felt sick. when i think about it now, some of usere getting sick. because had headaches all the time, and the kids would vomit, have diarrhea, you know, or complain about headaches all the time too, but we thought it was the flu or something. we didn't know it was coming from the spray. one of the questions that is often asked is, "if the product is so acutely toxic, why didn't we have hundreds of people going to emergency room?" often the pesticide symptoms that do result mimic many other types of symptoms, such as flu, frankly.
3:25 pm
e.p.a. officials were not just concerned abt the immediat health eexposue methyl parathion. we, however, have also been concerned about, and the scientific literature is incomplete and inconclusive on this, is whether or not we can be exposed to a pesticide in less than an acute fashion, just below an acute level, and end up having chronic health effects later. we were concerned that children might have subtle neurobehavioral effects that you would be able to observe years down the road, but the parent might not necessarily notice at the time of the exposure. in their assessment, children and pets were at greatest risk because of their smaller body weights and more frequent contact with contaminated surfaces, such as the floor. aonce methyl parathion,ct or a pesticide, has been sprayed onto wood or anyurface such th's porous,.
3:26 pm
it soaks in, and you rely can't cln it. it basicly has to be remov to b efftive dcon. so, the we w.. they were taking out drywall, baseboards, flooring... at some point, yeah, some of the houses were brought right down to the studs, and then totally rebuilt. christine scott: we got rid of all of the toys and stuff. we couldn't have the toys... but the furniture... this is some of the furniture. uh-huh, but the toys... all of that, the games-- we had to get rid of that. we couldn't keep that. dolls, and, you know, teddy bears-- because it had the stuff on real bad. and if there's any one single message that u.s. e.p.a. would like to get out to people is make sure that the people they're dealing with is reputable, that they show them what is actually being sprayed, put out on piece of paper what is being sprayed, and certify that, and also will show them the license that people have to allow this to be done.
3:27 pm
if you don't do all of those three things, then you may be in a vulnerable situation. despite the hazards we live with, people who have been working to improve the environment are optimistic. and part of that optimism is just looking at what's happening out there. it's not a matter of how many sites are being cleaned up, or how many smokestacks are being shut down. that's one measurement, but i think the real measurement is, how many people are concerned about what they're eating today? how many people are buying organic food? how many people are looking at the labels of food products? how many people are looking at labels of clothing? once we change the marketplace and educate consumers, then we begin to make changes in this country that are really solid, rooted changes. so, i think the fact that the american public has become more educated and are taking their own steps, is very, very optimistic for me, and i think that we can win.
3:28 pm
"the human condition" is a 26-part series about health and wellness. for more information on this program, and accompanying materials, call: or, visit us online at: [♪...]
3:29 pm
>> female announcer: some dreams are universal... dreams that inspire us. multiple sclerosis is a devastating disease that changes lives forever. the national ms society does more for people with ms than any organization in the world... but we can't do it alone. to get involved, visit us online at nationalmssociety.org or call 1-800-fight ms. this is why we're here... because nobody dreams of having multiple sclerosis.
3:30 pm
narrator: once upon a time, before we started ordering chicken without the skin, or cappuccino with non-fat milk, we simply ate what tasted good, and filled our stomachs without worrying about whether or not we were clogging our arteries or adding extra calories. today, eating seems like a daily struggle-- a constant battle between pleasure and health.
3:31 pm
it would seem that the abundance of food, and the wide variety of choices we have in the united states would almost guarantee proper and adequate nutrition for everyone. however, that is not always the case. peter clarke: there are a lot of people in this country-- tens of millions of people in this country-- who eat enough calories per day and even grow overweight but are malnourished. they are not getting the vitamins and minerals that they need. they're not getting antioxidants that they need. they're not controlling obesity which has so many health consequences and so malnutrition
3:32 pm
is a serious epidemic problem in this country, invisible to most people. the latest research on diet and nutrition confirms that what we eat does indeed play a role in maintaining overall health and well-being. what has changed through the years is the concept of just what a healthy diet is. joanne ikeda: when i first started as a nutritionist, we told people that it didn't make a difference whether you ate white bread or whole wheat bread. now we say the exact opposite. at one time, we actually put polyunsaturated oil in a cup and gave it to patients in hospitals because of "the health benefits" of polyunsaturates. now we know that total fat in the diet makes a tremendous difference and we would never do that again.
3:33 pm
so, over time, a lot of what we used to do has changed dramatically. however, a few nutritional facts remain constant. our bodies need the nutrients found in foods to function-- to power muscular movements and cell activities, repair tissues, and maintain body temperature. to carry out these metabolic activities, cells need the energy stored in three nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. linda gigliotti: the body prefers to get energycarbydrate, and carbohydrate we may refer to as sugars or starches, but we get carbohydrates from grain products, fruits and vegetables primarily. joanne ikeda: carbohydrates are really a great source of energy for the body, particularly complex carbohydrates because it takes a while for the body to digest them, to absorb them,
3:34 pm
and then it gives a fairly constant elevation to blood glucose levels. and that's what we want because that's where we're getting our energy from. dietary fiber is another important health benefit of complex carbohydrates. the typical american consumes about 10 grams of fiber a day. medical experts recommend doubling that amount-- adding more fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain cereal products to the diet. protis used initiay in the body to maintain scle mass, to build cells, antibodies, hormones, etc. and generally, that need for protein will be met if we take in 12 to no more than 20% of our calories from protein. any additional protein that we take in will be used for energy. calories will be broken down and burned for calories. and of course, a lot of those proteins are found
3:35 pm
in animal products such as milk, cheese, eggs, poultry, fish, lamb, beef, although it's quite possible to also get them by combining plant foods and legumes and things like that. linda gigliotti: we will really get enough protein from taking in about five to six ounces of meaper day. now three ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards. so you can kind of imagine a day's intake, that if i have a couple ounces maybe at breakfast or lunch, three ounces, that deck of playing cards on my plate at night would really give me enough protein, assuming i'm eating the other foods in the guideline as well. but as americans we don't eat the deck of playing cards. we eat the paperback book, you know, a very large paperback book, as our portion size. for health conscious people who have worked hard to minimize or eliminate fat from their diets,
3:36 pm
it may come as a surprise to learn that a healthy body actually needs fat to function. the body uses dietary fat to make tissue and hormones, and to provide a protective layer over vital organs. but in fact, it's these fatty acids that run the heart and other vital organs in the body, just a major food substrate, glucose being another food substrate. so they're a very vital part of our bodies and very important in function. but, in high levels, and probably certain types, can also be dangerous to the arterial wall. whether a fat or oil is considered dangerous or healthy depends on the type of fatty acid involved. is it largely polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, or saturated? when you're cooking, in general, choose monounsaturates and polyunsaturates. peanut oil, olive oil, canola oils are all excellent choices.
3:37 pm
butter tends to be more saturated. they are solid fats. beef fat, pork fat, chicken fat, lard-- they're all solid fats. linda gigliotti: the saturated fatty acids have a higher link to cardiovascular disease and probably cancer. there is increasing evidence that there's a value to having monounsaturated fatty acids up to about 10%-- about 10% of our total calorie intake from monounsaturated fats. so a balanced diet needs to provide all three of those nutrients in a healthful proportion. generally speaking, because fat is associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer, we recommend keeping the total amount of calories from fat less than 30% of the diet. protein is going to build those muscles and body cells, but you can do that if you get 12 to 15 or so percent of your calories from protein.
3:38 pm
so the balance of the calories are going to come from carbohydrate, and that generally puts us in the range of 50 to 60% of total calories coming from carbohydrate. now, if we're working with a diabetic, we may want to keep the percentage of calories from carbohydrate closer to that 50 to 55% but other people are going to do just fine with 60%. if absolutely necessary, we could live weeks without eating anything. our bodies would get nutrients by digesting its own muscle and fat. however, if we were to go without water, we would die within days. the human body is made up of 50 to 70% water, which makes bodily processes such as digestion and regulation of body temperature possible. joanne ikeda: people can die very quickly after becoming dehydrated. so it's really important to drink
3:39 pm
six to eight glasses of fluid a day. now, one can take that in as fruit juice, as low fat milk products, those kinds of things. as you buy fruit juices or processed foods, my rule of thumb is, when a new product comes into the market, look at the list of ingredients. if you can recognize 10 of those words, then you are ready to take that first sip. for any new beverage, look at all the chemicals that go into some of the processed foods. do they really belong in your body? can you live without them or can you do moderation? the body also needs vitamins and minerals to function. vitamins occur naturally in all living things- cows, carrots, trees and humans. each vitamin and mineral plays a key role in keeping the body functioning. joanne ikeda: well, i always think particularly of calcium and iron because those are the ones that we're commonly concerned about
3:40 pm
in this day and age. calcium, because of the high incidence of osteoporosis. women don't realize that they achieve peak bone density by their mid-twenties, and if they don't get enough calcium, they are going to end up with weak bones that will become even weaker over time. iron is very important because it is critical to carrying oxygen to every cell in the body. that's why when we don't get enough iron, we feel tired and lethargic. it's because our cells aren't receiving the oxygen that they need. the question is, how much of any one nutrient is enough? many countries have established dietary guidelines-- recommended dietary allowances, to help people answer this question. joanne ikeda: the very first guideline is eat a variety of foods because, again, nutrition scientists know
3:41 pm
that in order to get those 50 nutrits that are needed for human growth, health and well-being, you need to eat a wide variety. priya venkatesan: in 2005, the united states department of agriculture launched the dietary guidelines for americans. because dynamics have changed. people are eating differently, we're shopping differently, our lifestyles have changed too. no one has any time for exercise anymore, without pang attention to the quality and the quantity of foods we cannot ensure that we have longevity. so to prevent disease and to maintain health, we have to keep up with what the new standards are and change them. because people are different, their nutritional needs are also different. priya venkatesan: there's no one size that fits all. we're all different. so it becomes necessary to make it more individual, personalize it, as though you have a personal consultant.
3:42 pm
all you have to do is to log on to www.mypyramid.gov, and it will take you to the main page. if you want to have introductory information about what is this "my pyramid," you can learn. the toolbars are very easy, very simple, and honesty is the rule here. you cannot go with your driver's license from about 15 years ago and say, "i am that height and that weight." you have to weigh yourself you have to measure yourself again, because this is about you, this is about your body. lying or cheating is only going to make you go backwards instead of forward. i would ask you for your age, or you would type it in yourself. you would enter your gender. you would enter your activity level. now, that's another area that a lot of people either exaggerate or underestimate. if i ask anybody, "do you exercise?" they will say "moderate." what is moderate? does moderate mean parking your car five steps from your door?
3:43 pm
or is it parking a mile and a half from your door? everything is defined. just sitting in front of a couch and moving from the couch to turn the tv on-- is that moderate? the new "my pyramid" says, you could be sedentary. you could be in the category where we will give you a slightly lower caloric allowance. if you're not planning to move, please don't give the body any more calories. that's only going to result in undue weight gain and over a period of time with diabetes and cancer or cardiovascular disease that you can completely prevent. it's going to give you an accurate amount of calories that you can use to plan your daily caloric needs. no single food group provides all the nutrients people nee priya venkatesan: one of the most common features between the food guide pyramid and "my pyramid" is they are recommending predominantly vegetable-based foods. wholesome grains, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables are still the norm.
3:44 pm
whether you talk about what we do today, or whether you think about what was probably the way that foods were eaten hundreds and even thousands of years ago, grains were always available. society after society is-- has been oriented towards an agrarian lifestyle, with hunting and gathering as kind of a hit and miss sort of thing. so meat-eating is episodic, but grains and fruits and vegetables are there all the time. the labels on processed foods also cater to the needs ofealtconscioucoers. each package or can list nutrition facts-- thcari arits nein each ng seg of the product. anyone trying to limit calories or fat, or maximize the intake of vitamins, minerals and fiber, can check the label to see just what they're getting. nancy anderson: i look at how many fat grams are in a serving,
3:45 pm
and try and figure out how that fits into the overall recommendation for a day's intake. the other thing i look at is how much saturated fat is in a product. saturated fat is very responsible for raising blood cholesterol levels, so that's something that a lot of people need to pay attention to. for many people, sodium is an important thing to look at. if they have high blood pressure or congestive heart failure or certain conditions that warrant a low sodium diet, we would look at sodium. and something that is often overlooked is fiber. i look at the fiber content because many times you can get a comparable product that has more fiber just by incorporating whole grains into it. with all of this information, and the wide range of nutritious foods available, why would anyone need to take dietary supplements... like multi-purpose vitamins? joanne ikeda: pills are not a substitute for good nutrition because many of the essential nutrients cannot be isolated,
3:46 pm
synthesized and put into a pill. we can get 100% or more of the usrda, the recommended dietary allowance from a variety of foods, but are we taking in that variety of foods on a daily basis in order to provide the nutrients? and then other items like the calcium is a bit tougher to get. so supplements may be indicated for some individuals. joanne ikeda: certainly pregnant women who have increased nutrient needs. certainly to someone who is sick and is not able to consume the amount of food they need. in those cases, yes we do recommend supplements. in general, wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, either frozen or canned, staying away from the artificial processed foods
3:47 pm
will supplement and take care of your needs on a daily basis. but again, if you are in certain stages of life, if you're pregnant, if you have certain deficiencies, then we have to address them. at this point, there's no consensus. vegetarians may also need to exercise caution in terms of their nutrient intake, despite the healthy aspects of their diet. once one starts eliminating a lot of foods from the diet, and just restricting what one is consuming to a very narrow range of foods, then you're at greater and greater risk of not meeting your nutrient needs. vegetarians, there's a concern about protein, of course, because all of the essential amino acids are generally found in animal foods. and if you don't eat any animal foods, you have to make sure to combine plant foods in the correct way
3:48 pm
so that an amino acid that's low in one food is combined with another plant food where the amino acid is there in a plentiful amount. linda gigliotti: the non-meat sources of protein could come from beans, legumes, pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, lentils, etc. tofu. some from seeds and nuts although those are higher fat sources of protein as well. also iron is another problem because meat is an excellent source of iron. when you eliminate lean meats from the diet, you're eliminating a very good source of iron. not that you can't be well nourished. you can as a vegetarian. it's just that people need to pay some attention. they need to choose foods more carefully. disease prevention through nutrition is a relatively new area of research
3:49 pm
that explores the link between certain foods and the nutrients in them and their ability to prevent or minimize a long list of medical conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. for example, researchers have found a correlation between foods which contain phytochemicals and antioxidants and the slowing of normal wear and tear of the body. joanne ikeda: phytochemicals and antioxidants reduce oxidation, oxidative damage to cellular tissue. and that's involved not only in the aging process but also in carcinogenesis where cells become weak. they, of course become-- they mutate, and you get cancer cells. these substances are found primarily in fruits and vegetables. linda gigliotti: a lot of the research lately has really supported the intake of vegetables and fruits. whether it's the cruciferous vegetables
3:50 pm
or certain ones that contain vitamin c or beta-carotene or fiber. in research trials with heart patients, results, thus far, are mixed. howard hodis: it's our belief that it's possible that once a disease process is established to the point that you already manifest the symptoms or had a heart attack or a stroke, that the antioxidants or the vitamins may be too late. can't use them as treatment. their role may be in preventing that from occurring. so early on, you want to start the antioxidants and see of you can reduce the amount of atherosclerosis or the amount of disease-- heart disease that develops. is a diet filled with antioxidants an anti-cancer diet? evidence is inconclusive. however, there is evidence that an antioxidant diet low in saturated fats can lower cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease.
3:51 pm
in laboratory work and in animal work antioxidants such as vitamin e have been shown to perhaps slow the atherosclerotic process, the disease process and it's felt that that's done by inhibiting these oxidative changes to cholesterol. dietary manipulations ought to be aimed at the prevention of heart disease for a little while longer because we understand how that works. heart disease is a more common disease than cancer and it makes more sense to focus your diet there. probably when the dust settles, those diets are going to be the ones that turn out to lower cancer risks as well. they'll probably be pretty smart cancer diets but we just are way behind the cardiologists at figuring out the diet part of this whole thing. adapting and maintaining healthier eating habits is not always as easy as it sounds. it takes work and long-term commitment.
3:52 pm
so a physician says, "well, just stop eating that." well, you can't just stop eating that high fat food that you've been eating for 40 years. it takes time to adjust and find ways to moderate it, and/or dilute it or whatever needs to be done so you lose the urge to taste that food and you can then eat lower fat or other types of foods. going cold turkey never really works and one has to adapt and moderate slowly over time. people are hard on themselves. so i often like to point out, "well, how many years were you doing it another way? you've just given yourself six months practice. why are you beating up on yourself because you didn't do it right or perfectly this time?" howard hodis: i was brought up by european parents who ate meat and potatoes. liver was a big item every week for that iron. that was my taste for many years... high fat milks and cheeses and things like this. when we learned to ride a bicycle,
3:53 pm
or when we learned to tie shoes, or type on a keyboard, we made mistakes. so i think we have to allow ourselves to make mistakes as we are learning new food behaviors. and slowly over time using tricks, diluting the milk, for example, eventually going down to non-fat milk, i cannot even remember the taste of high fat, cream milks anymore, and if i was even exposed to it, i would be sickened by it. and so it's a matter of changing your tastes slowly over time. the local supermarket may be a place to begin... walkg down the aisles, making choices, with a nutritionist aching you each step of the way. linda gigliotti: so if i were walking down the aisle in the grocery store with you what i would look for would be, well, what are we putting in the grocery cart? are yogog to be able to get enough wholesome, fairly unprocessed simple foods to be the foundation of your diet? and then, how might you use some other food items?
3:54 pm
to start with, nutrient packed fruits and vegetables provide a nutritious foundation. linda gigliotti: now fresh would be great but you may tell me you don't have time to cook and prepar or cook those. so we could go over and look for some frozen items that werprepared without added fat, sauces or sugar in the case of frozen fruits. frozen or pre-packag items are health convenient sources of food that may help deter a quick stop at the fast food restaurant on the way home from work. lindgiglioi: we would look at our grain oducts. ouk ereal aisle or through the bakery department. we would look for the ount of fer that you're getting from that cereal or bread, not just the color of the bread product but how many grams of fiber on that label. i would want to make sure that the relative amount of fat in those items was probably less than about 30%
3:55 pm
of the total calories in those items. and then i would also ask you to buy a bag of frozen vegetables that you could mix in with that to increase the fiber and the overall nutrient content of what you were taking in. we would go along the back of the store where the dairy section frequently is some low fat or non fat milk or yogurts to make sure you were getting some calcium. and we would look at the fat content in those particular foods. and finally, the shopping cart should contain low fat sources of protein such as turkey, chicken and seafood, or bns and other legumes another key to maintaining a healthy diet is by eating regularly and not skipping meals. marc shiffman: i constantly hear from people, "i don't have time to eat breakfast." you do have time. i have time. if i have time, you have time. you have to know how to have the right food available. whether it's a bowl of cereal, whether it's muffins
3:56 pm
that you can grab out of the refrigerator, whether it is taking time on a weekend to whip up a batch of things you can pop into the toaster, there are healthy choices that you can make that are better than mcdonald's or burger king or any of these other fast morning stops that are also more expensive. and the same with lunch. you can-- low fat yogurt or sandwiches with whole grain bread is always a much better start, coupled with a piece of fruit, than going out to any kind of a fast food place. it's cheaper. it's healthier. and again, with working people, i hear this same excuse all the time. "i don't have time. i don't have time." if you have a little time on the weekend, you sit down and make a salad, spend an extra 10 minutes and make enough salad for six portions. grill chicken on the weekend. don't grill one or two chicken breasts; grill 10 of them. once you start doing it for a short while,
3:57 pm
it becomes second nature. it'll save you money and you'll feel healthier. linda gigliotti: the point that helps a lot of people is "well what's doable in my daily route that i can have readily available? how can i set up the environment in my work day to help me keep on target with what i really want to do versus being led astray-- the candy on the desk or the donuts and muffins being brought in, fast food meals being brought in or any kind of food being brought in for a luncheon meeting?" so my point is take control. set up your environment so that you have there the items that are going to help you stay on target. and that's the bottom line... in terms of food consumption or any other goal related to healthy living. take control and stay on target.
3:58 pm
"the human condition" is a 26-part series about health and wellness. for more information on this program, and accompanying materials, call... or visit us online at...
3:59 pm

tv
Democracy Now
LINKTV October 11, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

News/Business. Independent global news hour featuring news headlines, in depth interviews and investigative reports. (CC) (Stereo)

[curator]kaplan@archive.org[/curator][date]20150316144319[/date]

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 11, Joanne Ikeda 8, Linda Gigliotti 8, John Peters 3, San Diego 3, Tijuana 3, Online 3, Donald Hopkins 3, Richard 3, Mexico 3, Howe 2, Osha Program 2, Osha 2, Ray Barkley 2, Howard Hodis 2, Teresa Howe 2, Polyunsaturates 2, Etc. 2, Diarrhea 2, The California Air Resources Board 1
Network LINKTV
Duration 01:00:00
Rating PG
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 89 (615 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 544
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color


disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
In Collection
LinkTV
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 10/11/2012
Views
70